Monday, August 06, 2007

Obama and Richardson on Cable, Streaming; Gibbs on Obama: What’s changed in the last year?

Only a year ago, Senator Barack Obama was talking about stabilizing, if not succeeding, in Iraq [See here]. You can watch the Obama interview, along with our more recent interview with Governor Bill Richardson tonight on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs [8:30 pm, Cable Ch. 21] and on the City of Aurora edition of Public Affairs [7:30 pm, ACTV, Comcast Cable Ch. 10]. Or, Go here to watch the show on your computer. For more about tonight’s show, how the guests got to be presidential candidates, tonight’s topics and links to partial transcripts, go here].
Senator Obama’s position on Iraq has changed quite a bit since last summer. What’s changed? It is a question others are asking, too [See here]. Senator Obama became a candidate for President in a Party that is drifting, rapidly, to the Left. Anything else change? We asked Robert Gibbs, the Obama Presidential campaign’s Communications Director, on Saturday, after the Yearly Kos Convention Democratic Presidential Candidate debate. Take a listen:
Jeff Berkowitz: On July 22, 2006, Senator Obama said, in response to my question, can we still succeed in Iraq-- he said that we could still stabilize Iraq, we could still avoid a meltdown that drew its neighbors into an escalating conflict, we could avoid Iraq having terrorist bases, we could avoid an all out civil war in Iraq, but it was getting tougher because the sectarian violence in the country was increasing. Notwithstanding those issues, only a year ago, Senator Obama thought we could still stabilize Iraq. [Now, not so much]. What’s changed? Why can’t the U. S. still stabilize Iraq?

Roberts Gibbs, Communications Director, Obama for America: In that year, the only thing the Iraqi government can agree on is taking a month long break. Our troops are there and were put there to stabilize a situation so that the different factions that make up the Iraqi government could come to an amicable political government. They can’t even figure out how to divide up the oil revenue-- and that’s the easiest part. What the Iraqis have to do now is take control of their own destiny by coming up with a solution for governing themselves. The United States can’t govern Iraq and they can’t police a civil war. The Iraqi government needs to know we can’t be there forever and they need to start taking the hard steps—

Jeff Berkowitz: But, do they need the U. S. there for longer than nine months?

Roberts Gibbs, Communications Director, Obama for America: Well, I think—

Jeff Berkowitz: Your candidate, Senator Obama, is saying "out in nine months," isn’t he?

Roberts Gibbs: Well, we introduced a bill in January, 2007, that would have started a phased withdrawal in the beginning of May to have all of our combat troops out by March 31, 2008. Obviously, that hasn’t started yet, so whether or not it could be finished by then is a debatable question. But, what has to happen is that the Iraqis need to know we are not going to be there forever, that we’re going to leave and what they need to do is to begin a harder decision than to all agree to take August off on vacation. They need to get about dividing up the responsibility about how to govern themselves.
Jeff Berkowitz, Show Host/Producer of "Public Affairs," and Executive Legal Recruiter doing legal search can be reached at You may watch "Public Affairs," shows with Presidential Candidates Richardson, Obama, McCain, Giuliani and Cox and many other pols at